Oliver ‘Big Papa’ Harvey is a British-born music industry mogul with a decidedly no-nonsense approach to hip hop. Standing 6 feet tall and often seen wearing suspenders & a cowboy hat, he is hard to miss.
Big Papa is business manager & head of A&R for Billboard-charting music production company Ghostcraft Music. Founded by infamous & unorthodox producer LX Xander, Ghostcraft’s credits include a variety of major artists & media companies. In addition to production work, they also provide artist development services for both established and developing artists. Other key team members include ‘eccentric genius’ musician King Wizard and tiny alt-pop producer Alyun.
“An artist has to be pragmatic and proactive,” Mr. Harvey begins. “You have to be constantly on the hunt for opportunities to be able to put yourself and your music in front of somebody that can make a difference. Most artists adopt the ‘wait and hope’ approach, which never works – never has, never will.”
Big Papa prides himself on not bullshitting or coddling his artists. He believes that to be able to navigate the industry successfully, artists must be presented with the absolute truth of the situation – no matter how distressing the reality may be.
“We had an artist named Milligram come to stay with us at our studio in LA, he had a great attitude,” he reminisces. “One night we took him to Delilah’s in West Hollywood, we had a private room in the back. Drake turned up and it all went a bit wild, bodyguards with bulletproof vests. Think Milligram got more than he bargained for.”
Ghostcraft’s circle of consistent collaborators is quite small, beyond their core team: “One of my favourite artists to work with is Highrise – a lyrical maestro, always willing to give 110%,” Oliver gushes. “Also producer G-Wolf, in DTLA – he’s an absolute marvel. Him and LX together is a lethal combination.”
When asked about Ghostcraft, Big Papa is quick to share exactly what makes them a cut above, in his eyes: “Our unrivalled momentum is what sets us apart – even through setbacks, we’re still always moving forward. LX and Wizard are the two most driven people I’ve ever worked with. Never complacent, we’re always looking towards the next goal, even before finishing the current one. Always a couple steps ahead. The whole team holds the same vision of success, not just for ourselves, but for everyone we work with.”
And what’s the magic formula for breaking into the music industry, as an artist? Papa spills the beans: “Quality is key, in everything that you do: content, music, branding. You can’t expect to be treated like an industry professional if nothing is done to a professional standard. You have to realise that labels are investors, and unless you can prove that you’re a solid investment, then they won’t even consider you. And they’re not necessarily music-minded – often you have to show them your value using powerful branding and numbers.”
Follow Mr. Harvey on Instagram at @bigpapaharvey
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